Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Getting Caught Up In Upstate New York

Tuesday, August 30 - Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Middlesex, New York

Tuesday Tessa and I laze around home for most of the day before heading to Buffalo. Run a couple errands, have a late dinner, and pick Bill up from the airport at 12:45 AM. Yay!!! He's home!

The highway is much easier to navigate in the dark without the heavy rain, but I still marvel at just how pitch black it is with zero lighting. I realize that with snow and snow-removal equipment it isn't practical to have the lane reflectors we're used to on the west coast, although I'm not sure why the signs have no lights.

Wednesday we stay home and get each other caught up with our individual adventures. A very good lunch on the lake at When Pigs Fly BBQ Pit in Barcelona is about all we do on our last day in Westfield. It has been a great place to begin our three to four weeks in upstate New York.

At the recommendation of good friends Dave and Sue, we part ways with I-90 and make Hwy 20 our route for crossing the top of the state. As this is the area they've called home for years, I know we'll be seeing some beautiful country. I also figure they're tired of my whining about the toll roads.......

The nice drive through small towns and large farms brings us to our turn off just east of Lake Canandaigua. We make a right turn in the little burg of Potter, taking a narrow, well-maintained road to Flint Creek Campground. It's a bit "out-of-the-way," but I was able to get a spot over the holiday weekend with FHUs. The grass sites are very large, with nice shade trees, picnic tables, and fire rings. Even with the shade we're able to get satellite. But no cell or internet connection at all, and really lousy water pressure :-(. This does not bode well for a week's stay.

There are only two other RVs in this section with a dozen or more seasonals in the rest of the park. But a swimming pool, large play area, and events planned for the weekend, mean there are likely to be lots of families joining us. 

We wake up Friday morning to nice cool temps and low humidity - heavenly!! I even have a sweatshirt on when we head out for nearby Naples.  

The RSMC Cummings Nature Center is a 900 acre preserve donated to the Rochester Museum by the Cummings family. There is a small interpretive center, five miles of trails, an old saw mill, sugar shack, and pioneer cabin. 

We combine the Pioneer and Haudenosaunee for just under two miles of forest trails. Some areas the roots make watching where you step the priority, but much of the way is a nice, spongy path that's great for walking. 

Signs leading to the 18th century pioneer cabin share diary entries from two children who traveled west - they are not from the family who lived in this cabin, but certainly could be. The cabin itself is small and not maintained, and includes items from the era it was built. 

Telling the story of the move west using children's diary entries.
Most entries talk of challenges with weather and work, balanced with excitement over all the new things they're experiencing. It's a very fun exhibit.
The pioneers of today are much taller!
Mud and grass mortar
We both comment on how uncomfortable bras were back then.
The plastic box throws off the step back in time.
Whatever this is, Tessa was freaked out, and took several minutes to get close enough to get a sniff.
Bill spied this little guy on the path.
About the size of my thumb.
We didn't walk the Helen Gordon Trail which includes paintings of the area's birds, but we did enjoy the Haudenosaunee Trail with paintings by Seneca artist Ernest Smith.

I imagine he would be very pleased to know his work is used to educate local children on the culture of his people.
Each painting includes information about the traditional activity shown.

This is my favorite of the dozen pieces displayed here.
The colors are muted except for this more vivid one of gathering plants for medicine.
The same colors are found in the nature that surrounds his art.
The creek is nearly dry, and the wildflowers are mostly gone to seed, but there is still a lovely variety of life in this beautiful forest.

Fungi grows in shade of a log.
Tiny mushrooms survive among the branches along the trail.
The creek continues to trickle through the rocks.
Another little toad crosses the foot bridge.
A slight breeze flutters a million leaves
Nature finds a way.
If you're in the area, this little gem is well worth the $3 per person entry fee. Doggies on leash are welcome.

In the afternoon we return to find dozens of our new best friends have arrived. Many have large tents and extra vehicles, but the sites are so big that there's room for everyone. Surprisingly, while everyone has dogs, only three sites have children. Of course our immediate neighbors have three - and an old lab who "sings" like he's dying at regular intervals. Makes us laugh every time :-)

The gang's all here - we're toward the back on the left.
Over the three-day-weekend we take several trips just driving around the countryside. We continue to marvel at the lovely farms and quaint villages. We visit four of the Finger Lakes - Conesus, Honeoye, Canandaigua and Seneca. We pick up fresh produce from small stands along the road. Is there anything better tasting than a fresh tomato??? 

Mennonite families drive buggies and ride bicycles alongside convertibles and tractors on the highways. Every little town has a large cemetery on the main road with markers ranging from ornate shrines to simple curved headstones. There are very few signals, and zero track homes. 

Lake Honeoye
There are fast and fancy boats 
But there's still lots of fun to be had in smaller and slower.
A bit windy on the dock
Much better over here.....
Many of the silos are already dressed up for Halloween
Overackers Corners School, 1894
Lake Canandaigua
The water is so clear
Local cemetery
I've been craving German food, and Rheinblick in Canandaigua is wonderful.
Hanging flowers on steroids.
Monday morning we are entertained for a few hours as all of our neighbors pack up and head for home. It is amazing how much work goes into camping for a couple days - especially with bumper-pulls and tents! By noon everyone is gone.

All to ourselves
We make a run to town for a few groceries, then spend the evening enjoying a quiet campfire and the changing colors of the sky overhead.

The temps have been rising over the weekend and Tuesday we're once again near 90 degrees. As wonderful as it is to have the place to ourselves, we're not comfortable outdoors. We're ready for some Internet and decent water pressure as well. So although we have reservations here until Thursday we decide this will be our last night in Middlesex. 

Wednesday we only travel 30 miles to Seneca Falls, New York, where there are some great places I'm looking forward to visiting!


  1. You are definitely seeing so much of this country. I bet you're enjoying every inch of it as you do.

  2. How wonderful to have Bill home and back to your delightful explorations.

  3. Hurray Grandpa is back...sweet! I really like this Nature Center you found. I so enjoy interpretive trails that lead to special items like the cabin. Having a trail with the work of an artist is very clever! Aren't all the finger lake so pretty:) This is why we ended up staying at Dave and Sue's lake property for a month! I can tell you are enjoying the varied landscape in the New York:) Definitely lots to see and take in. Loved Tessa with the wind blown ears:) Seneca Falls does have a lot to offer as I'm sure you read in Sherry's post. Enjoy!

    1. It was a really unique trail with lots to look at! I can definitely see why you stayed :-) Yes, Sherry's post on the museum really grabbed me - hoping to go today and get out of the returned heat.

  4. Oh boy, you are going to Seneca Falls. Love your pictures of your hike and the tiny frogs. We saw lots of them too. Nice touch to show the colors used in ERnest Smith's paintings all around you. Love the pics of Tessa of course, doesn't everyone. I probably would have moved that plastic thing over into a corner radical that I am. LOL at your bra comment. It does always make me wonder why people go to SO much trouble to camp for 2 days. For years, We were tenters and seldom weekenders, just 3 or 4 weeks in a row in the summer or a couple in the fall and again in the spring. Our problem was ability to leave the farm. Sympathizing with you on lack of internet and phone. We have had that a lot recently. Like now in the Delaware Water Gap. We've become so addicted to our "connections".

    1. I was sort of freaked out by that thing myself so didn't attempt to move it :-) Yes, we have to admit our addiction - got our Internet and cell back, but lost satellite on the opening night of the NFL season!! Oh well, we'll see the Sunday games when we move on. Loving Seneca Falls - the Womens' Rights Museum is all you said it is :-)))

  5. What nice interpretive trails. Good to hear "Pa" is back. It is so nice when Sunday arrives and almost everyone packs up. The leaves should start changing soon. I look forward to the pictures.

    1. Although the temps are still hot, there are a few trees starting to turn already. They must have a calendar!

  6. I'm almost nostalgic, except you entirely avoided MY lake (Cayuga); I'll try not to take that personally.

    I thought the critter you saw was a horned toad, then I remembered where you're not. Keep enjoying! There's no better time to be in Central NYS than now.

    1. We will definitely go see Cayuga tomorrow - promise!! We're hoping this last blast of high temps and humidity is the last one for the season - and of course also hoping for a "gentle" Fall :-)))

  7. I can certainly understand the frustrations of no internet. Our Verizon doesn't work at all and the "free" wi-fi provided here is so and out all time.

    So glad Bill is home and things are back to normal around your house. Love the nature walk with the paintings . What a beautiful way to share about the people who were there.

    1. We take care of a lot of things for Bill's mom online now, so we really can't go a whole week anymore. I didn't know what to expect with paintings on the trail, but they turned out to be really wonderful.

  8. Being without reliable internet is a pain! Much as we loved our summer on Lopez Island, two and a half months without decent internet started driving me crazy. How fun that you're in the Finger Lakes area! It's definitely on our list. Thanks for the tour of the nature center and the trails (adding that to the list!). I especially like the "gathering plants for medicine" painting.

    1. That's definitely a long time to have "iffy" connection! But I know the place is worth it :-) We picked the wrong year to come weather-wise, but it's a beautiful area.